Cyber risk is the risk of damage due to failure in your information technology systems. It covers finances, reputation, and disruption of any kind. It’s not a new concept, but it seems to be regarded by many as something for big businesses to worry about. Just think: how would your customers and employees feel if some or all of your confidential information was leaked? It’s a nightmare scenario, but so many small businesses don’t think it concerns them. I’m not a big target, they think. I don’t need to worry that much about cyber security. That’s the wrong way to think about it.
Let’s talk about a small business called Rokenbok Education.
Rokenbok is a small public interest firm dedicated to delivering applied technology and engineering learning experiences for K-12 students. They suffered an attack in 2015 that locked them out of their files, and the attackers demanded a hefty ransom. This kind of story is becoming increasingly common; access to anonymous commodity currency like BitCoin and increased internet access is making it very profitable to perform this sort of attack. Rokenbok was able to overcome the threat without paying the ransom, but they lost thousands in sales and a lot of customer loyalty, not to mention having to restructure their entire business to avoid the ransom.
Small and medium businesses are increasingly tantalizing targets for hackers. They usually have little in the way of security (keeping your default settings doesn’t help at all) and they usually have some level of infrastructure, that, once controlled, can be used to attack other machines. You may have heard of something called a “botnet”. A botnet is a large number of infected machines that run small bits of software that coordinate distributed attacks. You might not know if you’re part of a botnet until you finally catch the program in the act, or if you notice a large spike in internet traffic from things like webcams or that cool new wifi-connected coffee pot. I don’t know if any wifi-enabled coffee pots exist, but if it does, then it can be hacked.
Keeping up on this is the job of any IT staff. The Computer Specialist is experienced in taking care of our neighbors here in the Norman area. Call us, and let us put our expertise to work for you. You’ll be glad you did. Click here to read about our services for small businesses.
Vadiveloo, Jay, Jay Krutiak, Jing Guo, and Junyi Yang. “Cyber Risk for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.” Janet & Mark L. Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research (2016): n. pag. Aug. 2016. Web. 7 Apr. 2017.